Starring: Jamie Clayton, Odessa A’zion, Goran Visnjic, Brandon Flynn, Hiam Abbass, and Drew Starkey
Director: David Bruckner
As far as 80s horror remakes go, Hellraiser is actually pretty decent. My main complaint is that the story is written in such a way that it kinda assumes you know the Cenobites’ whole deal. As someone who hadn’t seen a franchise entry since 1988’s Hellbound: Hellraiser II (this is the eleventh Hellraiser movie, btw), a refresher on the lore would have been helpful. Still though, the performances range from mostly good to great, and the Cenobites’ character design is terrific. Fans of the series will certainly enjoy themselves, but the uninitiated might want to look up Cenobites on Wikipedia for some context first.
Horror remakes can be hit or miss. For example, Child's Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street were big misses, whereas My Bloody Valentine and Friday the 13th were hits. This version of Hellraiser lands somewhere in the middle. When you saw the original Hellraiser by Clive Barker, it felt like you were seeing something you weren't supposed to see…the gothic tones and gore crept into your bones. But this new entry from David Bruckner feels too safe and polished. It's not bad, and it has some interesting takes on the mythology, but it feels neutered when compared to the original.
As of late, Hulu has been releasing some pretty entertaining horror films, and this new installment of Hellraiser is no different. This entry finally finds the missing puzzle piece to give the franchise a fresh start while also tying in lore from the 1987 original. The script may not raise as much hell, but David Bruckner's direction solidifies it to be the best entry since Clive Barker’s horror classic. Jamie Clayton's rendition of Pinhead is terrifying, and as much as I wanted to hide when watching this, I couldn’t help but think that it’s a great addition to the Hellraiser series.